- Journalism - Libya
Journalists killed in Misrata immortalised realities of war
British journalist Tim Hetherington (right) and American Chris Hondros (left) were killed on Wednesday covering the battle for Misrata in western Libya. Both photographers had covered conflict zones extensively in their careers.
It is one of the last pictures taken by Getty Images photographer Chris Hondros: a gravedigger stops for a break in Misrata, surrounded by scores of fresh tombs. The award-winning American photographer became another statistic in the brutal fighting in eastern Libyan city on Wednesday afternoon, the day the picture (below) was published.
Hondros and fellow photographer Tim Hetherington were killed in the fighting in central Misrata, a rebel-held city in western Libya that has been under intense attack by Gaddafi’s forces for more than seven weeks. Two other photographers were injured in the incident.
At the time of their deaths both Hetherington and Hondros were at the height of their field. Hondros, a native New Yorker, had covered the conflicts in Kosovo, Angola, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his work in Liberia, the 41-year-old won the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal in 2006 for his "exceptional courage and initiative" in Iraq.
The photograph below is of a young girl in Iraq, taken in 2005. Both her parents were killed when US soldiers opened fire on the car she was travelling in.
Hetherington, an Anglo-American, was in Libya on assignment for Vanity Fair. He has worked extensively in Africa, where he lived for eight years. He gained worldwide recognition for his work in Afghanistan in 2007, winning the World Press Photo award for his picture essay on a remote US base in the Korengal Valley. While he was there he also filmed his Oscar-nominated documentary “Restrepo”, about a platoon of US soldiers serving in Korengal.
The day before he was killed, Hetherington tweeted: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”
The precise circumstances of their deaths are unclear, although a statement from Hetherington's family said he was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade.